Sunday, February 17, 2008

Unexpected Regression

We have an interesting regression going on at our house this week, believe it or not, baby bottles are the total rage over here! The other day Josh decided he needed a new baby blanket. His is a wreck, unlike Kenny and Matthew who took to the special blankets made for them by a dear friend, Joshie has always loved carrying around a small thermal material receiving blanket. We lost version number one about a year and a half ago, and now are on version number two which was the exact same color and material. Well, version number two is looking worse for the wear, very worn, stained, faded and torn and so he approached me asking if we could get a new one just like it. So off to Walmart we went, down the baby aisle to find our new blankie. Luckily we found a two pack so we are stocked for awhile. I then was surprised when he asked if we could get a baby bottle for him, and while a bit surprised I could come up with noe good reason not to and realized that if he was asking for something like that seriously, then there must be a deeper reason so I went ahead and bought a three pack of bottles and we went home.

As soon as we walked in the door, he asked for something to drink in his bottle, and then after I filled it for him, he asked me if I could go in the toy room and rock him in the recliiner like I did when he was a baby. I was getting it, so we soon found ourselves snuggled in the chair, Josh resting in my arms with his gagly 5 year old body fitting quite nicely, thank you very much, and I proceeded to rock him and sing to him as I tried to do when he was little but wasn't often allowed due to the RAD he struggled so mightily with. After about 30 minutes, he was done and thanked me, then went on to other Big Boy tasks.

I quickly understood that Josh has a need to relive some of what he never got, or never got enough of, because of our emotional struggles when he was young. Oh, how I wished at the time that I could rock him gently, relax and have him fall asleep in my arms the way Matthew did, but I never was able to have those moment with him and by the time we had worked through the worst of the RAD, he was already pre-school aged and my oppportunity had passed, or so I thought. Now, maybe even if only for a brief period of time, maybe he and I can have that time together that should have been so special but was missed through no fault of our own. I see this often with Josh, and it is hard to explain. He is not at all more ima ture than other kids his age, but there is this unique quality about him that is still so young, so very much in need of nurturing at times. He has the essence of a younger child that surrounds him, and yet the maturity of an older one too. It is a paradox.

I know there are many parents out there that would flip out if their 5 year old son asked for a baby bottle and wanted to be rocked as if he were an infant. After all, aren't they supposed to be way past that stage? Isn't there something wrong with that? Isn't that kind of strange? And yet it is just one more way in which adoptive parents have to be creative and see outside the box. I see nothing wrong at all with Josh craving what he never had the chance to get, and for letting him have it to some degree if it is at all possible. In fact, even more than that, I think it is imperative that if he needs to revisit certain stages that we do so, that it might inhibit his emotional growth if we don't. This doesn't hurt anything at all, and in fact provides us with some nice one on one time...time we spent fighting when he was young enough to need his bottle...but now that he has learned how to accept my affection I can offer it to him and he can feel the strength of the love that exists between us.

Of course, once Kenny saw the baby bottle, he too wanted one. Now he doesn't really want to be rocked, but he will crawl and sit next to me. So yes, even my 9 year old son has decided he wants to be a cuddled baby just a bit longer. And darned if I am not hard pressed to say no when I understand that a part of him really needs this, even if it is only for a short while.

So, I am sure the novelty will wear off soon, but I am once again washing nipples and cleaning bottles...something I thought was long gone from my repertoire.

On other news, we are still having some "Kenny Moments" with lying, and even though it is all small, seemingly insignificant stuff we need to stay on top of it. It is kind of funny because Matthew even told him "Kenny, you are never going to get away with it, Mom will always catch you!". I am going to have get creative about this and see if I can come up with an idea that is helpful in turning this around.

Tonight we had a family over who is adopting from Kyrgyzstan, and the boys were more excited about it than I would have ever expected. I explained to them that we were going to try and help them learn all the things we knew from our trips, and they suggested we play a trivia game to help the family learn the boys and I created a list of questions and Kenny and Matthew each helped answer them. All 3 boys wanted to wear their traditional clothing, which we hadn't had out in a long time, so they got a kick out of that. The ceremonial robe we bought Matthew when he was an infant now almost fit him, and I was reminded of the passing of time and how quickly his childhood is moving past us.

And now it is off to bed, with a busy week ahead of us. We are halfway through ski season and on the downhill side now. I am looking forward to being a full-time mom again in a couple of months, I miss the extra time with the boys. Still several weeks to go though, so gotta knuckle down and get through it!


imtina said...

I LOVE that you got him that bottle and followed his cues! That is wonderful. It's not like they ask for things like that for no reason. When we brought Isabel home, Zannie started sucking her thumb and talking in baby talk. Art reacted to it by being cerebral and logical and telling her that she was too old for that. I told him to let her do it and to 'baby' her for a bit. Soon that had all passed and I think it's because we just let it all come out and followed her lead.

Joshie sounds in many ways like Zannie in that paradox that you write about. She can sound like an 8 year old, sometimes a 2 year old. It's fascinating to have such a child.

How' the diet coke jail going???

Kim said...

I have been meaning to email you about adopting out of birth order. It is something we find ourselves now considering. This post helped me realize something about your family, in that I think if you had adopted a child younger than Joshie it would have likely sent him backward in his progress with the RAD. Very interesting.

I still need to email you about adopting out of birth order... I have many questions and concerns.

fte said...

My daughter Annuka, 4.5 now, adopted at 9 months, has also asked for a bottle again and to be rocked. WE haven't gotten around to getting it yet, but we will. She has always been quietly instinctive about her bonding needs. AS a tiny baby, she sould tuck herself uu under my sweatshirt and nap with her fett on my tummy, her head on my chest, as if giving herself time to grow inside me. Later, she spent time slepping between my legs and still ocassionally does. She is very physical with me and when we are together likes to have a portion of us touch. The message I take is that she did not get nine months inside me (a body that would have nurtured and protected her, nor did she get that for the first 10 months outside the womb, so she will have it now, some of it on her terms!) Its fine for me, I would have gladly nurtured her the customary way, but she came to me via Kazakstan, and I believe we will cuddle for years. Not such a bad deal in the end.